The Philippine navy hopes to add two more warships to its fleet as Southeast Asian countries continue to expand their militaries in response to the Chinese government’s increasingly assertive territorial ambitions in the South China Sea, also known as the West Philippine Sea. Armed forces chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista said the new acquisitions would come under the fresh U.S. military assistance plan announced last month by U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry when he visited the Philippines. China began widening its territorial claims about five years ago to include nearly all of the seas dividing South-East Asian countries and their northern neighbour. The claims defy international standards and maritime law, and Beijing refuses to have the dispute heard before an international court.
This comes amid concerns that the Chinese have plans to invade an island occupied by the Philippine military. Other South-East Asian countries are also building up their military capabilities. The Vietnamese are upgrading their submarine fleet with Russian made Kilo class Subs. Indonesia and Singapore are also expanding their fleets. -Mort